COVID, 2020 and a year of lost research
The pandemic's unequal toll on the research community, and a newly discovered mitochondria-like symbiosis.In this episode:00:48 The pandemic's unequal toll on researchersAlthough 2020 saw a huge uptick in the numbers of research papers submitted, these increases were not evenly distributed among male and female scientists. We look at how this could widen existing disparities in science, and damage future career prospects.Editorial: COVID is amplifying the inadequacy of research-evaluation processes09:18 Research HighlightsHow a parasite can make viral infections more deadly, and the first known space hurricane.Research Hig...
Source: Nature Podcast - March 3, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Google-backed database could help answer big COVID questions
A repository with millions of data points will track immunity and variant spread.To answer the big questions in the pandemic, researchers need access to data. But while a wealth has been collected, much of it isn’t collated or accessible to the people who need it.This week sees the launch of Global.health, a database that aims to collate an enormous amount of anonymized information about individual COVID-19 cases.On this week’s Coronapod we discuss how this database could help answer the biggest questions facing scientists right now, from variants to vaccines – could data change the game?News: Massive Goo...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 26, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The quark of the matter: what's really inside a proton?
The surprising structure of protons, and a method for growing small intestines for transplantation.In this episode:00:45 Probing the proton’s interiorAlthough studied for decades, the internal structure of the proton is still throwing up surprises for physicists. This week, a team of researchers report an unexpected imbalance in the antimatter particles that make up the proton.Research Article: Dove et al.News and Views: Antimatter in the proton is more down than up07:08 Research HighlightsHow an inactive gene may help keep off the chill, and Cuba’s isolation may have prevented invasive species taking root on t...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 24, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Thundercloud Project tackles a gamma-ray mystery
Researchers in Japan are trying to understand why thunderstorms fire out bursts of powerful radiation.Gamma rays – the highest-energy electromagnetic radiation in the universe – are typically created in extreme outer space environments like supernovae. But back in the 1980s and 1990s, physicists discovered a source of gamma rays much closer to home: thunderstorms here on Earth.Now, researchers in Japan are enlisting an army of citizen scientists to help understand the mysterious process going on inside storm clouds that leads to them creating extreme bursts of radiation.This is an audio version of our feature: ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 23, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: our future with an ever-present coronavirus
What’s the endgame for the COVID-19 pandemic? Is a world without SARS-CoV-2 possible, or is the virus here to stay?A recent Nature survey suggests that the majority of experts expect the virus to become endemic, circulating in the world’s population for years to come.But what does this mean? On this week’s episode of Coronapod, we ask what a future with an ever-present virus could look like.News Feature: The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - February 19, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A mammoth discovery: oldest DNA on record from million-year-old teeth
Researchers sequence the oldest DNA ever recovered, and the people bringing art and science together.In this episode:00:46 Million-year-old mammoth DNAThis week, researchers have smashed a long-standing record by sequencing a genome that's over a million years old. They achieved this feat by extracting DNA from permafrost-preserved mammoth teeth, using it to build-up a more detailed family tree for these ancient animals.Research Article: van der Valk et al.News: Million-year-old mammoth genomes shatter record for oldest ancient DNANews and Views: Million-year-old DNA provides a glimpse of mammoth evolution10:00 Research Hi...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 17, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Is mixing COVID vaccines a good idea?
The science behind how and when to give vaccines doses.As vaccines are rolled out, massive logistical challenges are leading scientists and policymakers to consider alternative dosing strategies.But what does the science say? In this week’s episode of Coronapod, we discuss mixing and matching vaccines and lengthening the time between doses. Approaches like these could ease logistical concerns, but we ask what's known about their impact on vaccine efficacy – what is the science behind the decisions, and could they actually boost immune responses?News: Could mixing COVID vaccines boost immune response? ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 12, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Human Genome Project - Nature ’s editor-in-chief reflects 20 years on
Looking back at the publication of the human genome, and how macrophages mend muscle.In this episode:00:45 The human genome sequence, 20 years onThis week marks the 20th anniversary of a scientific milestone – the publication of the first draft of the human genome. Magdalena Skipper, Nature’s Editor-in-Chief gives us her recollections of genomics at the turn of the millennium, and the legacy of the achievement.Editorial: The next 20 years of human genomics must be more equitable and more openComment: A wealth of discovery built on the Human Genome Project — by the numbersComment: Sequence three million ge...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 10, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Variants – what you need to know
Researchers are scrambling to understand the biology of new coronavirus variants and the impact they might have on vaccine efficacy.Around the world, concern is growing about the impact that new, faster-spreading variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will have on the pandemic.In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what these variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.News: ‘A bloody mess’: Confusion reigns over naming of new COVID variantsNews: Fast-spreading COVID variant can elude immune r...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 5, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Mysterious einsteinium spills its secrets
Exploring the properties of a vanishingly-rare man-made element, and the AI that generates new mathematical conjectures.In this episode:01:04 Einsteinium's secretsEinsteinium is an incredibly scarce, man-made element that decays so quickly that researchers don’t know much about it. Now, using state-of-the-art technology, a team has examined how it interacts with other atoms, which they hope will shed new light on einsteinium and its neighbours on the periodic table.Research Article: Carter et al.06:28 Research HighlightsThe mysterious appearance of three ozone-depleting chemicals in Earth’s atmosphere, and how ...
Source: Nature Podcast - February 3, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: Fixing the world ’s pandemic alarm
A year ago the WHO’s coronavirus emergency alarm was largely ignored. Why?On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, or PHEIC, to raise the alarm of the imminent threat of a global coronavirus pandemic.Alongside the PHEIC, the WHO made a number of recommendations to curb the spread of the virus. But many of these were ignored by governments around the world.In this episode of Coronapod, we explore why this emergency warning system failed, and hear about efforts to reform it, and the WHO, to avoid this happening again.News: Why did...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 29, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Push, pull and squeeze – the hidden forces that shape life
Researchers are probing the subtle physical forces that sculpt cells and bodies.At every stage of life, from embryo to adulthood, physical forces tug and squeeze at bodies from within.These forces are vital, ensuring that cells are correctly positioned in a developing embryo, for example. But they also play a role in diseases like cancer. Yet despite their importance, relatively little is known about how cells sense, respond to and generate these forces.To find out, researchers have turned to bespoke tools and methods, using them to probe lab-cultured cells and whole animals to get to the root of how mechanical forces scul...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 28, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

How a spinal device could relieve a neglected effect of cord injury
A neuroprosthetic device restores blood-pressure control after spinal-cord injury, and identifying the neurons that help us understand others’ beliefs.In this episode:00:47 A neuroprosthetic restores the body’s baroreflexA common problem for people who have experienced spinal-cord injury is the inability to maintain their blood pressure, which can have serious, long-term health consequences. Now, however, researchers have developed a device that may restore this ability, by stimulating the neural circuits involved in the so-called baroreflex.Research Article: Squair et al.News and Views: Neuroprosthetic device ...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 27, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Hiring discrimination laid bare by mountain of data
Analysis of hundreds of thousands of job searches shows that recruiters will discriminate based on ethnicity and gender, and the neural circuitry behind a brief period of forgetting.In this episode:00:47 Hiring discriminationA huge dataset has shown that widespread discrimination occurs in job hiring, based on ethnicity and gender. This backs up decades of research, showing that people from minority backgrounds tend to get contacted far less by employers.Research Article: Hangartner et al.09:31 CoronapodToday Joe Biden becomes the next president of the United States. We find out what this new political chapter could mean f...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 20, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: The rise of RNA vaccines
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker and Elie Dolgin discuss RNA vaccines.In this episode: 01:16 How RNA vaccines came to prominenceIn less than a year, two RNA vaccines against COVID-19 were designed, tested and rolled out across the world. We discuss these vaccines’ pros and cons, how RNA technology lends itself to rapid vaccine development, and what this means for the fight against other diseases.News feature: How COVID unlocked the power of RNA vaccines09:20 The hurdles for trialling new COVID-19 vaccinesMultiple candidates for new COVID-19 vaccines are still being developed, which may offer advantages over the vac...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 14, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The mysterious extinction of the dire wolf
DNA clues point to how dire wolves went extinct, and a round-up of the main impacts of Brexit on science.In this episode:00:45 Dire wolf DNADire wolves were huge predators that commonly roamed across North America before disappearing around 13,000 years ago. Despite the existence of a large number of dire wolf fossils, questions remain about why this species went extinct and how they relate to other wolf species. Now, using DNA and protein analysis, researchers are getting a better understanding of what happened to these extinct predators.Research Article: Perri et al.11:43 Research HighlightsThe secret to Pluto’s bl...
Source: Nature Podcast - January 13, 2021 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Controlling COVID with science - Iceland's story
Lessons from Iceland, which utilised huge scientific resources to contain COVID-19.When COVID reached the shores of Iceland back in March, the diminutive island brought it to heel with science. Here’s how they did it, and what they learnt.This is an audio version of our feature: How Iceland hammered COVID with science  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - December 30, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Our podcast highlights of 2020
The Nature Podcast team select some of their favourite stories from the past 12 months.In this episode:00:32 Following the Viking footprint across EuropeIn September, we heard about the researchers mapping ancient genomes to better understand who the Vikings were, and where they went.Nature Podcast: 16 September 2020Research Article: Margaryan et al.08:09 Mars hopesIn July, the UAE launched its first mission to Mars. We spoke to the mission leads to learn about the aims of the project, and how they developed the mission in under six years.Nature Podcast: 08 July 2020News Feature: How a small Arab nation built a Mars missio...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 23, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: The big COVID research papers of 2020
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker and Traci Watson discuss some of 2020's most significant coronavirus research papers.In the final Coronapod of 2020, we dive into the scientific literature to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers have discovered so much about SARS-CoV-2 – information that has been vital for public health responses and the rapid development of effective vaccines. But we also look forward to 2021, and the critical questions that remain to be answered about the pandemic.Papers discussedA Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019 - New England Journal of Medicine, 24 JanuaryClini...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 17, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Could you prevent a pandemic? A very 2020 video game
A video game provides players with insights into pandemic responses, and our annual festive fun.In this episode:01:02 Balancing responses in a video game pandemicIn the strategy video-game Plague Inc: The Cure, players assume the role of an omnipotent global health agency trying to tackle outbreaks of increasingly nasty pathogens. We find out how the game was developed, and how it might help change public perception of pandemic responses.Plague Inc: The Cure from Ndemic Creations10:02 “We three Spacecraft travel to Mars”The first of our festive songs, we head back to July this year, and the launch of three sepa...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 16, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Don ’t think too deeply about the origin of life – it may have started in puddles
How water chemistry is shifting researchers' thoughts on where life might have arisen, and a new model to tackle climate change equitably and economically.In this episode:00:46 A shallow start to life on Earth?It’s long been thought that life on Earth first appeared in the oceans. However, the chemical complexities involved in creating biopolymers in water has led some scientists to speculate that shallow pools on land were actually the most likely location for early life.News Feature: How the first life on Earth survived its biggest threat — water07:44 CoronapodThe COVID-19 pandemic has massively shifted the s...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 9, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Norway's prime minister reveals plans to protect the world's oceans
Erna Solberg on fisheries, fossil fuels and the future of the oceans.This week, world leaders are announcing a series of pledges to protect and sustainably use the world’s oceans. The pledges form the crowning achievement of the ‘High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’ a multinational group formed back in 2018. The panel has sought to bring together research, published in a number of so-called ‘blue papers’ and special reports by scientists, policy- and legal-experts from around the world – all with the ear of 14 participating world leaders.Erna Solberg, the prime minister of N...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 3, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Cellular ageing: turning back the clock restores vision in mice
A trio of genes may be key to making cells young again, and ultra precise measurement of a fundamental physics constant.In this episode:00:47 Reversing ageingResearchers claim to have identified a method to revert cells in mice eyes back to a younger state.Research article: Lu et al.News and Views: Sight restored by turning back the epigenetic clock09:39 CoronapodWe discuss emergency-use approvals for COVID-19 vaccines. Approvals are coming in fast, which presents a dilemma for scientists - they’re critically needed, but what could it mean for research?News: Why emergency COVID-vaccine approvals pose a dilemma for sc...
Source: Nature Podcast - December 2, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Neutrinos give insights into the workings of the Sun ’s core
Scientists have finally confirmed the existence of a CNO cycle fusion reaction in the Sun, and why women’s contraception research needs a reboot.In this episode:00:47 Detection of CNO neutrinosSince the 1930s it has been theorised that stars have a specific fusion reaction known as the CNO cycle, but proof has been elusive. Now, a collaboration in Italy report detection of neutrinos that show that the CNO cycle exists.Research article: The Borexino CollaborationNews and Views: Neutrino detection gets to the core of the Sun08:48 CoronapodWe discuss the search for the animal origin of SARS-CoV-2, with researchers raidi...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 25, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Coronapod: What could falling COVID death rates mean for the pandemic?
In this episode:00:44 An increase in survival ratesThe COVID-19 mortality rate is falling around the world. We discuss the reasons behind this – the role of new drugs, the treatment strategies the have been learned, or re-learned, and the ever-present worry that these hard won victories could be undone by rising infection rates.News Feature: Why do COVID death rates seem to be falling?10:53 More vaccine good newsThis week, Moderna released preliminary results for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, the third positive indication from a string of vaccine announcements. Although the full data are yet to be published, do the...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 19, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The troubling rise of facial recognition technology
Scientists have grave concerns over ethical and societal impacts of facial-recognition technology. In this surveillance special, we dig into the details.In this episode:03:24 Standing up against ‘smart cities’Cities across the globe are installing thousands of surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition technology. Although marketed as a way to reduce crime, researchers worry that these systems are ripe for exploitation and are calling for strict regulations on their deployment.Feature: Resisting the rise of facial recognition17:44 The ethics of researching facial recognition technologyDespite co...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 18, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: The enigmatic organisms of the Ediacaran Period
New fossil finds and new techniques reveal evidence that early animals were more complex than previously thought.The Cambrian explosion, around 541 million years ago, has long been regarded as a pivotal point in evolutionary history, as this is when the ancient ancestors of most of today’s animals made their first appearances in the fossil record.Before this was a period known as the Ediacaran – a time when the world was believed to be populated by strange, simple organisms. But now, modern molecular research techniques, and some newly discovered fossils, are providing evidence that some of these organisms were...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 13, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Revealed: the impact of noise and light pollution on birds
Researchers try to unpick the complex relationship between sensory pollutants and bird reproduction, and how to combat organised crime in fisheries.In this episode:00:46 Sensory pollution and bird reproductionLight- and noise-pollution have been shown to affect the behaviour of birds. However, it’s been difficult to work out whether these behavioural changes have led to bird species thriving or declining. Now, researchers have assembled a massive dataset that can begin to give some answers. Research article: Senzaki et al.10:17 CoronapodInterim results from a phase III trial show compelling evidence that a coronaviru...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 11, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A powerful radio burst from a magnetic star
Astronomers pin down the likely origins of mysterious fast radio bursts, and the latest on what the US election means for science.In this episode:00:46 The origins of mysterious fast radio burstsThe detection of a brief but enormously-powerful radio burst originating from within the Milky Way could help researchers answer one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries.Research article: Bochenek et al.; News: Astronomers spot first fast radio burst in the Milky Way07:59 CoronapodAt the start of the pandemic, there were fears that schools could become hotspots for infections. We discuss the evidence suggesting that this is unlik...
Source: Nature Podcast - November 4, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Talking politics, talking science
Science and politics are not easy bedfellows - "Stick to the science" is a three part series which aims to find out why.In the third and final episode we try to get to the bottom of how journalists, communicators and policymakers influence how science is perceived. We discuss the danger of politicisation and ask the question - can science be part of the political narrative without compromising its values?Tell us what you think of this series: https://go.nature.com/2HzXVLcThis episode was produced by Nick Howe, with editing from Noah Baker and Benjamin Thompson. It featured: Deborah Blum, Bruce Lewenstein, Dan Sar...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 30, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Politics of the life scientific
Science and politics are not easy bedfellows - "Stick to the science" is a three part series which aims to find out why.In this episode we're asking how politics shapes the life of a working scientist. Be it through funding agendas, cultural lobbies or personal bias, there's a myriad of ways in which politics can shape the game; influencing the direction and quality of research, But what does this mean for the objective ideals of science?Tell us what you think of this series: https://go.nature.com/2HzXVLcThis episode was produced by Nick Howe, with editing from Noah Baker and Benjamin Thompson. it featured c...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 29, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A brief history of politics and science
Science and politics are not easy bedfellows - "Stick to the science" is a three part series which aims to find out why.In this episode we delve into the past, and uncover the complicated relationship between science, politics and power. Along the way, we come up against some pretty big questions: what is science? Should science be apolitical? And where does Nature fit in?Tell us what you think of this series: https://go.nature.com/2HzXVLcThis episode was produced by Nick Howe, with editing from Noah Baker and Benjamin Thompson. it featured contributions from many researchers, including: Shobita Parasar...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 28, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Lab –grown brains and the debate over consciousness
The chances of mini-brains becoming sentient, and a UK government decision threatens gender diversity in academia.In this episode:00:59 The ethics of creating consciousnessBrain organoids, created by culturing stem cells in a petri dish, are a mainstay of neuroscience research. But as these mini-brains become more complex, is there the chance they could become conscious, and if so, how could we tell?News Feature: Can lab-grown brains become conscious?09:01 CoronapodSo called ‘herd immunity’ is claimed by some as a way to break the chain of infection and curtail the pandemic. However epidemiologists say that thi...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 28, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The science behind an'uncrushable' beetle ’s exoskeleton
The structure of a beetle’s super-strong exoskeleton could open up new engineering applications, and efforts to address diversity and equality imbalances in academia.In this episode:01:17 Insights into an armoured insectThe diabolical ironclad beetle has an exoskeleton so strong, it can survive being run over by a car. Researchers have identified how the structure of the exoskeleton provides this strength, and show that mimicking it may lead to improved aerospace components.Research Article: Rivera et al.; News and Views: Diabolical ironclad beetles inspire tougher joints for engineering applications10:42 Corona...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 21, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Superconductivity gets heated
A high pressure experiment reveals the world’s first room-temperature superconductor, and a method to target ecosystem restoration.In this episode:00:44 Room-temperature superconductivityFor decades, scientists have been searching for a material that superconducts at room temperature. This week, researchers show a material that appears to do so, but only under pressures close to those at the centre of the planet. Research Article: Snider et al.; News: First room-temperature superconductor puzzles physicists 08:26 CoronapodThe Coronapod team revisit mask-use. Does public use really control the virus? And how much evid...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 14, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: What animals really think
Researchers are aligning data on animal neuronal activity with behavioural information recorded on millisecond timescales, to uncover the signatures of internal brain states associated with things like moods and motivation.This is an audio version of our feature: Inside the mind of an animal  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information. (Source: Nature Podcast)
Source: Nature Podcast - October 9, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Trump vs. Biden: what's at stake for science?
A conversation about the US election and the possible fallout for science, and are maternal behaviours learned or innate?In this episode:00:46 US electionIn the United States the presidential race is underway, and Nature is closely watching to see what might happen for science. We speak to two of our US based reporters to get their insight on the election and what to look out for. News Feature: A four-year timeline of Trump’s impact on science; News Feature: How Trump damaged science — and why it could take decades to recover; News: What a Joe Biden presidency would mean for five key science issues12:36 Coronap...
Source: Nature Podcast - October 7, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Greenland's ice will melt faster than any time in the past 12,000 years
How current and future ice loss in Greenland compares to the past, and using graphene to make ultra-sensitive radiation detectors.In this episode:00:45 Greenland’s historic ice lossClimate change is accelerating the loss of ice and glaciers around the world leading to unprecedented levels of disappearance. Researchers have drilled samples from deep in the Greenland ice sheet, to model how current, and future, losses compare to those seen in the last 12,000 years. Research Article: Briner et al.; News and Views: The worst is yet to come for the Greenland ice sheet; Editorial: Arctic science cannot afford a new cold wa...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 30, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

After decades of trying, scientists coax plastic particles into a diamond-like structure
Coaxing tiny colloid particles into a diamond structure, and manipulating cell death and homeostasis in neurodegenerative disease.In this episode:00:45 Creating colloidal crystalsFor decades, researchers have attempted to create crystals with a diamond-like structure using tiny colloid particles. Now, a team thinks they’ve cracked it, which could open the door for new optical technologies. Research Article: He et al.07:50 CoronapodRapid antigen tests for coronavirus have been described in some circles as ‘game changers’ in the fight against COVID-19. We discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and how they...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 23, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Genes chart Vikings' spread across Europe
Mapping the migration of the Vikings, and the world’s smallest ultrasound device.In this episode:00:45 Following the Viking footprint across EuropeTo better understand who the Vikings were, and where they went, researchers have mapped genomes from hundreds of archaeological artifacts. Research Article: Margaryan et al.08:00 CoronapodPhase III trials of a leading coronavirus vaccine were abruptly paused last week – we discuss how news of the event leaked out, and the arguments for transparency in clinical trials. News: A leading coronavirus vaccine trial is on hold: scientists react; News: Scientists relieved as...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 16, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A new way to cool computer chips — from within
Keeping electronics from overheating, and how to include minority populations in genetic analyses.In this episode:00:46 Cool computersKeeping components cool is a major hurdle when it comes to increasing electronic power. This week, we find out about a new way to integrate tiny microfluidic channels directly into circuits, to help keep them cool. Research Article: van Erp et al.06:57 CoronapodBy comparing coronavirus genomes taken from people around the world, researchers are getting an idea of how SARS-CoV-2 is changing as it spreads. We discuss a particular genetic mutation that rapidly became dominant early in the pande...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 9, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

A new way to cool computer chips - from within
Keeping electronics from overheating, and how to include minority populations in genetic analyses.In this episode:00:46 Cool computersKeeping components cool is a major hurdle when it comes to increasing electronic power. This week, we find out about a new way to integrate tiny microfluidic channels directly into circuits, to help keep them cool. Research Article: van Erp et al.06:57 CoronapodBy comparing coronavirus genomes taken from people around the world, researchers are getting an idea of how SARS-CoV-2 is changing as it spreads. We discuss a particular genetic mutation that rapidly became dominant early in the pande...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 9, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Revealed: A clearer view of how general anaesthetics actually work
Engineering yeast to produce medicines, and the mechanism of anaesthetic action.In this episode:00:44 Making medicine with yeastThe tropane alkaloids are an important class of medicine, but they are produced agriculturally leaving them vulnerable to extreme weather and world events. Now, researchers have engineered yeast to produce these important molecules. Research Article: Srinivasan and Smolke06:36 CoronapodWe discuss the complex story of immunity to COVID-19, and how this may affect vaccine development. News Feature: What the immune response to the coronavirus says about the prospects for a vaccine16:33 Research Highl...
Source: Nature Podcast - September 2, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The challenge of reproducing results from ten-year-old code
Protecting delicate quantum bits, and a competition to replicate findings from ancient computer code.In this episode:01:04 Quantum computers vs ionizing radiationThe quantum bits, or ‘qubits’, central to the operation of quantum computers are notoriously sensitive. Now, researchers have assessed the damaging effects that ionizing radiation can have on these qubits and what can be done about it. Research Article: Vepsäläinen et al.08:15 CoronapodWe discuss the US Food and Drug Administration’s decision to authorize convalescent plasma for emergency use in COVID-19 patients. As accusations of poli...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 26, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

3D-printing some of the world's lightest materials
A new way to produce aerogels opens up their use, and understanding how sulfur can change state between two liquids.In this episode:01:05 Printing aerogelsAerogels are materials with impressive insulating properties, but they’re difficult to handle, due to their innate fragility. Now, researchers have shown a new way to 3D print the most common form of aerogel, opening up a range of potential new applications. Research Article: Zhao et al.07:00 CoronapodTo provide targeted public health interventions during the pandemic, it’s vital that data are collected and shared effectively. We discuss the countries doing t...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 19, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

The chemical that turns locusts from Jekyll into Hyde
Triggering swarming behaviour in locusts, and new insights into how humans synchronize.In this episode:01:56 Understanding swarming behaviourSwarms of migratory locusts regularly devastate crops across the world, but why these swarms form has been a mystery. Now, a team of researchers have identified a compound that causes solitary locusts to come together in their billions - a finding that could have practical applications for preventing this behaviour. Research article: Guo et al.; News & Views: Catching plague locusts with their own scent08:48 CoronapodWe discuss the role that monoclonal antibodies may have as thera...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 12, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Audio long-read: Pluto ’s dark side is overflowing with secrets
In 2015, after a nine-and-a-half-year journey, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft raced past Pluto, beaming images of the dwarf planet back to Earth.Five years after the mission, researchers are poring over images of Pluto’s far-side, which was shrouded in shadow during New Horizon’s flypast. They hope that these images will help give a better understanding of how Pluto was born and even whether a hidden ocean resides beneath the world’s icy crust.This is an audio version of our feature: Pluto’s dark side spills its secrets — including hints of a hidden ocean  See acast.com/privacy for...
Source: Nature Podcast - August 7, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Why skin grows bigger as you stretch it
Skin's unusual response to stretching is finally explained, and the latest in a huge effort to map DNA.In this episode:01:06 Stretching skinFor decades it’s been known that stretching skin causes more skin to grow, but the reasons why have been a mystery. Now, researchers have uncovered a mechanism to explain the phenomenon. Research Article: Aragona et al.; News and Views: Stretch exercises for stem cells expand the skin07:49 CoronapodWe discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has affected scientific meetings and how the learned societies that organise them are adapting. How scientific conferences will survive the...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 29, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

When did people arrive in the Americas? New evidence stokes debate
New evidence may push back the date on human arrival to the Americas, and an examination of science’s flaws.In this episode:00:59 Ancient AmericansTwo papers suggest that humans were present in the Americas thousands of years before many people have thought. We examine the evidence. Research Article: Ardelean et al.; Research Article: Becerra-Valdivia and Higham; News and Views: Evidence grows that peopling of the Americas began more than 20,000 years ago10:44 CoronapodWe discuss the latest results from vaccine trials around the world, and controversy in the US as COVID-19 data collectio...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 22, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts

Graphene ’s magic angle reveals a new twist
Probing the superconducting properties of graphene and bacteria that can use manganese to grow.01:15 Magic angle grapheneIf you sandwich two sheets of graphene together and twist one in just the right way, it can gain some superconducting properties. Now, physicists have added another material to this sandwich which stabilises that superconductivity, a result that may complicate physicists’ understanding of magic angles. Research Article: Arora et al.08:22 CoronapodWith evidence mounting that SARS-CoV2 can spread in tiny aersolised droplets, researchers have called on the WHO to change their guidance for di...
Source: Nature Podcast - July 15, 2020 Category: Science Authors: Springer Nature Limited Source Type: podcasts